Physical exercise - Advice

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When it comes to physical activity, many people don't know where to start or which to choose. The key to adopting an active lifestyle is to start slowly, then gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts so that your body grows accustomed to them and, more importantly, so that you stay motivated.

A simple and inexpensive way to get moving is to walk as often as possible. Daily walking at a good pace yields enough health benefits to be considered an active adult. You can also try your hand at a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities that appeal to you, either on your own, with others or as part of an organization.

“You don't need to exercise for hours on end. Taking short breaks during the day can have a positive impact and help you live a long and healthy life.” — Valérie Guilbeault, Kinesiologist

Many of you have busy schedules, so it can be hard to find the time and the motivation to work out. Nevertheless, your health needs to be a priority. Scheduling your workout or exercise session, like you would schedule a doctor's appointment or a meeting with colleagues, can help you achieve your goals. Interval training is also an excellent way to reduce the length of your sessions, while maximizing the cardiovascular health benefits.

“The most important question to ask yourself is: Will I be able to maintain these changes for the rest of my life?”

Each workout will vary in length depending on how much time you have. Moreover, you can split your workout into multiple sessions without any loss of benefit. In fact, three 10-minute sessions deliver the same benefits as a 30-minute session of continuous exercise.

While engaging in moderate-intensity exercise for 30 minutes a day (or a little less if the intensity is higher) is ideal, be sure to set realistic goals and then fine-tune them as you go along.

No matter what type of exercise you do, remember to listen to your body and choose an intensity that is right for you. If you feel you’ve reached the limits of your abilities and are no longer able to keep up, SLOW DOWN!

Have fun working out!


Getting started with physical activity is easier than you think. Begin with low-intensity activities, then gradually increase the level of physical effort. The key is to incorporate movement into your daily life. To achieve this:

  • Take active breaks several times a day.
  • Take every opportunity to move more (park your car further away and walk, choose the bathroom that's furthest away, take the stairs instead of the elevator, etc.).
  • Choose an activity you enjoy and try several of them.
  • Start slowly, then gradually increase the duration and intensity of your exercise sessions.
  • Set a realistic yet challenging goal.
  *Sources : Visit the Government of Quebec’s Portail santé mieux-être and the Observatoire de la prévention of the Montreal Heart Institute (MHI) website for more information on adopting a healthy lifestyle and risk factors.  


The following resources are available to help you adopt an active lifestyle: